Canadians have faced extraordinary circumstances over the past few months due to the ongoing global pandemic. In efforts to contain the virus, people have been practicing social and physical distancing, which has affected how they work, spend money and the Canadian real estate market. When it comes to the market in St. John’s, many are left wondering how the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador is faring these days.
St. John’s is the main financial, commercial and cultural centre of the province, and the city is home to a variety of suburban neighbourhoods, shopping complexes and industrial areas. Although the fishing industry is still important in St. John’s, the city is known today as the main service centre for the province’s offshore oil and gas industry. St. John’s is a growing metropolitan area with lots to offer, and it’s no wonder one-third of Newfoundland’s population chooses to live here.
Although housing prices are still relatively low in St. John’s compared to other Canadian markets, prices are expected to increase.
Late last year, RE/MAX was anticipating a two-per-cent decline in prices in 2020 for St. John’s Metro. Buyer’s market conditions were expected to prevail in 2020, a continuing trend from 2018-2019.
St. John’s housing market offers exceptional affordability versus many other major cities across Canada, and this is a leading reason why it is an attractive place to settle down for many people. First-time homebuyers were expected to drive the market in 2020, with the Galway subdivision in high demand.
Home Sales in St. John’s
Home sales are down in St. John’s and Newfoundland & Labrador. The Newfoundland And Labrador Association of Realtors reported that residential transactions in St. John’s fell by 61 per cent on a year-over-year basis in May 2020, while home sales in the rest of the province were down 37.4 per cent.
When we look at single detached homes in St John’s, there was a decline of 62.1 per cent from levels in April 2019.
Examining the overall supply of homes on the market, we can see that there was quite a drop comparing this year to last year. There were 4,013 active residential listings at the end of May, which is a decrease of 27 per cent from the same time last year.
Housing Prices in St. John’s
Housing prices in St. John’s remain low, however, there is an expectation that they will experience an increase over the next several years.
Province-wide, the average price of homes sold in May 2020 was $228,519, down 2.3 per cent year-over-year.
However, due to improvements in the labour market and in the unemployment rate in St. John’s, we could see housing prices in St. John’s begin to crawl higher over the next several years.
Effects of Low Housing Prices in St. John’s
There are several effects that low housing prices can have on a housing market such as St. John’s, including the rate of housing construction and the willingness of homeowners to put their properties on the market.
When housing prices are very low, there is a tendency for a slowdown in housing construction. There is the expectation that a reduction in new home construction in St. John’s will affect housing prices, leading to an eventual increase in prices.
Another effect of low housing prices is that when prices are low, homeowners have the tendency to keep their houses off the market. This will mean fewer homes for sale, leading to a decrease in supply and therefore encouraging prices to go up.
With home sales down and prices remaining low, those looking to purchase a property in St. John’s could find this that now is an opportune time.
Buying a new home during the pandemic does come with its challenges; you may be wondering how the quality of services will differ during this time. Luckily, most activities relating to buying or selling a home can be done online. If you are interested in entering the real estate market, always make sure that you work with a qualified Realtor who can best guide you through the market.
Winnipeg sees record month for real estate sales amid pandemic – CTV News Winnipeg
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Winnipeg experienced a record month for real estate sales throughout July.
According to a news release from WinnipegREALTORS, multiple listing service (MLS) sales for July reached 1,898, which is ever so slightly up from 1,897 in June. The previous record month was 1,705 sales in May 2019.
Compared to July 2019, last month’s sales were up by 32 per cent and dollar volume – which reached $596.1 million — was up 36 per cent.
WinnipegREALTORS reported year-to-date, the city has seen MLS sales of 8,672, which is five per cent ahead of the same period last year.
Catherine Schellenberg, president of WinnipegREALTORS, said in the news release that Winnipeg is seeing a different market this year.
“While WinnipegREALTORS forecasted another strong year following a successful 2019 with an expanded rural area, we did not expect such a significant recovery from the drop off in April and May sales activity due to the economic shutdown,” she said.
While real estate sales have seen a significant recovery since the start of the pandemic, the same cannot be said for listings, which has a larger deficit to recover from.
In July 2020, the number of new listings entered into the MLS was down by nine per cent compared to the same time last year, and down 10.9 per cent year-to-date.
According to WinnipegREALTORS, at the beginning of August Winnipeg’s real estate inventory was at 4,408, which is a 27 per cent decrease from 2019 and a 15 per cent decrease from the five-year average for this time of year.
Due to the deficit in listings, over 31 per cent of single-family detached homes sold for over the list price in July.
“Less inventory suggests sellers have been reluctant to participate in our real estate market as opposed to buyers, which has created inventory shortages in a number of MLS areas,” Schellenberg said.
“This market change has resulted in multiple offer situations.”
Another first for the Winnipeg real estate market was a shift in the most active price range.
WinnipegREALTORS reported the most active price range moved to $300,000 to $349,000, with nearly 18 per cent of total sales. This replaced the $250,000 to $299,999 price range, which had a 15.5 per cent share of all sales.
“Our local market continues to show a strong recovery with buyers taking advantage of historically low interest rates and some of the most affordable house prices in the country,” Schellenberg said.
RioCan sells 50% interests in Toronto, Ottawa developments – Real Estate News EXchange
RioCan REIT (REI-UN-T) has continued its trend of bringing in partners on major developments, selling 50 per cent interests in two of its residential-based projects to Maplelands Development Inc. (Dufferin Plaza in Toronto) and Killam Apartment REIT (Luma at Elmvale Acres in Ottawa).
The transactions total about $32.6 million, with Dufferin Plaza comprising $28.8 million of the total and Luma $3.8 million.
“These two transactions are a continuation of RioCan’s strategy to monetize the value that is inherent in our development pipeline as well as to reduce the amount of capital required to build out our urban mixed-use developments that are an important part of RioCan’s evolution,” said Edward Sonshine, chief executive officer of RioCan, in a release Tuesday.
Maplelands is a new development partner for RioCan. The company is newly established in Canada, and is a subsidiary of ASGC Construction of the United Arab Emirates.
Over the last three decades, ASGC has delivered projects in the residential, commercial, retail, industrial and hospitality sectors. Maplelands chose the Dufferin Plaza project as its first entry into the Canadian market due to “its superior quality and attractive attributes, combined with RioCan’s development expertise,” the release states.
Dufferin Plaza in Toronto
Dufferin Plaza is an open-air centre on four acres at Dufferin Street and Apex Road, near the Lawrence West subway station, Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Allen Expressway and Highway 401.
RioCan and Maplelands will redevelop a mixed-use property with approximately 608 units, or a 417,000-square-foot condominium tower and 32,000 square feet of retail space. The project has received Official Plan approval.
RioCan will be the development and retail property manager, and will develop the site in conjunction with its recently acquired 50 per cent interest at adjacent 3180 Dufferin St.
3180 Dufferin is the third project RioCan is developing in partnership with Woodbourne Capital Management. This project is a mixed-use development with up to 440,000 square feet of gross floor area intended as residential rental and ground-floor commercial.
The two projects will result in a mixed-use development of nearly one million square feet.
The Dufferin Plaza transaction closed on Aug. 10. It represents approximately $115 per square foot of future density, of which $11.3 million will be paid as pre-construction development phases are achieved over the next 18 to 24 months.
A cap rate of 2.62 per cent is based on in-place net operating income, but is more relevant to the density created by RioCan through the zoning process commenced several years ago.
This is $11.6 million above carrying value, of which approximately $10.5 million will be recognized as inventory gains in Q3 2020.
Luma at Elmvale Acres in Ottawa
Elmvale Acres Shopping Centre is an open-air, grocery-anchored property in the Elmvale Acres neighbourhood. It has immediate access to major arterial roads and transit arteries with an adjacent bus rapid transit station.
RioCan acquired the shopping centre in 2004 and in July 2017 received zoning approval for a mixed-use development.
The first phase of the project, Luma, is already under construction with initial residential occupancy targeted to commence in the third quarter of 2022.
This price was based on approximately $45 per square foot of zoned future density.
Luma, the first phase of the development, is being constructed on a 1.45-acre portion of the centre that had no existing income. It will consist of 168 rental units and approximately 9,500 square feet of at grade retail net leasable area.
RioCan is the development manager and Killam will be the property manager upon completion.
Luma is RioCan’s third partnership with Killam (KMP-UN-T), which owns, manages and develops apartments and manufactured home communities in Atlantic Canada, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
The sale closed on July 30
RioCan’s existing partnerships with Killam include a mixed-use development project in East Ottawa zoned for four residential towers with up to 840 units. Frontier, the first phase, has been completed and achieved stabilization in Q1 2020.
Construction of Phase 1, Latitude, is well underway.
RioCan and Killam also have a 50/50 joint venture for the mixed-use development of Charlottetown Mall in Prince Edward Island, which has the potential for residential density.
“These partnerships, attractive deal pricing and the ongoing momentum of our residential projects during the current global pandemic, reflect the demand for well-located, high-quality residential assets and the significant value creation opportunities that RioCan’s pipeline offers,” Sonshine said in the release.
“We remain committed to our robust development strategy to drive sustainable and diversified income and to continue to expand the net asset value of our portfolio.”
RioCan Living update: Pivot and Latitude
Pivot, at Yonge and Sheppard in Toronto, and Latitude in Ottawa are both under construction on previously underutilized parcels of existing RioCan properties.
Pivot is a 36-storey, 361-unit residential rental building at one of Toronto’s busiest intersections, with access to the Yonge and Sheppard subway lines and located near Highway 401.
Initial occupancy at Pivot is on track for Q4 2020 and interest in leasing at Pivot has achieved over 800 registrants.
Latitude is a 20-storey, 209-unit residential rental building near the Blair LRT station. Adjacent to RioCan’s Silver City Gloucester open-air centre in Ottawa, Latitude is just steps away from a grocery store and other essential services.
Leasing at Latitude is targeted to commence in Q4 2021.
RioCan owns, manages and develops retail-focused, increasingly mixed-use properties in high-density, transit-oriented areas. The trust is focused on Canada’s six largest urban markets.
As of June 30, 2020, its portfolio was comprised of 221 properties with an aggregate net leasable area of approximately 38.6 million square feet (at RioCan’s interest) including office, residential rental and 15 development properties.
RioCan’s development pipeline as of June 30 was estimated at 42.7 million square feet, of which 14.8 million square feet is already zoned primarily for mixed-use developments.
Manitoba real estate broker could lose licence over fraud allegation – CBC.ca
A Manitoba real estate broker could permanently lose his licence after was accused of fraudulently taking thousands of dollars from prospective tenants and spending it on personal items.
The Manitoba Securities Commission has set a date for September to hear allegations against Jose Antonio Pereira.
According to a statement of allegations, Pereira entered into an agreement in March or April of 2018 with the owner of a property at the corner of Munroe Avenue and Panet Road in Winnipeg, who wanted to develop a commercial property and lease it to medical professionals.
The allegations have not been proven.
Pereira agreed to find potential tenants and set up a sign advertising the property, the statement said, but no listing agreement was signed — a violation of the Real Estate Brokers Act of Manitoba.
In April 2018, two people identified as K.A. and F.T. met with Pereira at his Re/Max Associates office and signed a lease. They each gave Pereira a deposit of $1,500 plus GST, which Pereira said was refundable, the statement said.
Rather than going to Pereira’s broker, as required by law, the money is alleged to have gone straight into Pereira’s personal bank account. Bank records show the money was spent on personal expenses, according to the statement.
In September 2018, the securities commission barred Pereira from acting as a real estate broker for three years, after he failed to return a $20,000 deposit to a woman and her husband, which had been given to him in order to purchase a house.
Pereira had been suspended by the commission once before, in June 2001, for a period of 15 months.
In March 2019, K.A. learned that the owner, identified as M.T., was no longer listing the property with Pereira and Re/Max Associates. K.A. asked Pereira to return the deposit, but Pereira told him the money was non-refundable and had been used for expenses.
The statement quotes a message sent from Pereira to K.A., saying that Pereira would soon be moving to Portugal permanently.
“I hope there is no problems going forward,” the statement quotes Pereira as saying. “I have lots of video on everyone that works great for these type of situation , video that k ow one wants shared I am sure, I want no problems , stay well our secrets our safe , also goes for M.T. !”
A hearing of the allegations is set for Sept. 16. Staff at the securities commission have requested that the commission order a refund of $1,500 to both K.A. and F.T.
They also recommended that Pereira’s registration under the act be suspended or cancelled, and that he be ordered to pay all costs.
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